Zeitgeist: Human Coexistence 2.0

#Zeitgeist is a movie I watched over the weekend. But what does a film have to do with mobile phones? What is human interaction 2.0? And what is Jason Reitman’s last work? No film criticism, just a few thoughts of a digital natives.

Of Men, Women And Children: #Zeitgeist

Jason Reitman’s film #Zeitgeist (in the original: Men, Women & Children ) is a film adaptation of the novel of the same name by the controversial author Chad Kultgen. Hollywood stars such as Adam Sandler and Jennifer Garner, as well as promising newcomers such as Ansel Elgort, show how the Internet, smartphones and social networks affect the coexistence. The focus is on families and teenagers. For example, football player Tim left his team because he found football increasingly meaningless, and devoted exclusively to the MMORGP Guild Wars . Patricia controls all the Facebook activities and news of her daughter Brandy. Donna wants to push the play career of her daughter Hannah with every means – with a discusible website. Hannah’s classmate Allison is increasingly taking an online community. And Don and Helen have lost their marriage and are looking for fulfillment online according to shopareview.com. The individual stories gradually join together. In all strands of action, the digital exchange via social networks, smartphones and the Internet in general is in the foreground. But where is the co-existence, where respect for one another, mutual respect?

Past: Voyager Golden Record

Right at the beginning of the film it goes to the year 1977: Two gilded copper discs start on board the space probes Voyager 1 and 2 into the space. No fiction, but reality. The Voyager Golden Recordsshould introduce extraterrestrial humanity. For this purpose, the researchers responsible for the discs have recorded images, sounds, languages ​​and music, including animal sounds, all sorts of greetings and important classical works by Beethoven and Mozart among others. Both space probes continue to explore the outer regions of the solar system and are on interstellar missions. Contact to extraterrestrials has so far not existed (even if the Men in Black would now contradict). And even if: What salary would the messages, music and pictures of the Golden Records then still?

Present: Smartphones And Alienation

If I follow the stories in #Zeitgeist, the importance of the Voyager recordings decreases rapidly.Smartphones, PCs and chat news seem to dominate the 21st century. Records and whale song?None. Instead: online games, social pressure, cyber bullying, sexualization, instrumentalization.While the teenagers in the film wipe with nimble fingers over the touch screens and grow at high speed, the parents believe that online seemingly everything goes easier. Instead of warm words and proximity, there is routine clarity and escape from the computer. What their offspring now and then do with digital media, they still hardly understand. Alienation and isolation take their course in both generations.

Human Coexistence 2.0

Human coexistence 2.0, that means chats about chats, status messages and self-help. Teens and twens spend a lot of time on social networks. Rather restrained, but also traumatized characters retreat into virtual worlds and block the reality. The latter is not such a new phenomenon, but it continues to contribute to a certain social isolation – at least when it comes to direct contacts with fellow human beings. Also, Facebook, WhatsApp and Co. can help some alienation. For example, when two people just stare at their smartphones while eating or a coffee instead of giving their attention to their counterparts. Instead of meeting outside, messages are sent back and forth in secondary news. Or pictures. Or videos of cute cats. Emoticons replace whole sentences, the question of a date is much easier via mobile phone. In real life you could be embarrassed.

Fiction And Reality

Of course, some scenes in #Zeitgeist are almost painfully dramatic. And therefore sometimes appear terribly overpowered. But are they? What is fiction, what is reality? Cyber ​​bullying is a real problem of our time. Shitstorms are disrespectful. As if people forget that on the other side also a man sits.Exaggerated self-presentation with Tumblr, Instagram and other services everyone knows. Like against Like and without zig filter there is no attention. But that mothers read and delete the e-mails of their daughters? The Facebook friend list clean up? At least here in Germany are the critical events. Short-circuit reactions, on the other hand, are real. And that in schools and universities, but also in operation everywhere cell phone screens illuminate, is also not fictitious. Likewise, the intimacy increases in digital form, and flouts of love flutter from cell phone to cell phone, while a hug is sometimes difficult and even a smile can represent an insurmountable hurdle. But do we still know each other? Do we see each other yet? Not for nothing is the German subtitle of the film: From digital proximity and analogous alienation .

Honestly: It’s Not All Bad

Of course, not everything is bad. Smartphones are handy. In the event of an accident, they can save lives. And the Internet has simplified many things, for example, the shopping, if you do not want to go to the city after the evening. You can capture memories with your mobile phone and show them at home to your friends or family. You can reside old friends through Facebook and similar platforms and make up for a coffee. Groupchats facilitate the organization of events in the circle of friends.And sometimes a smiley says maybe more than a thousand words. And I doubt that all of us through the Internet, through smartphones spontaneously lose our humanity. We must not forget that no network, no game, no chat can replace real, real proximity and conversations. This is just a message that #Zeitgeist tries to mediate.

Movie Facts

Title: #Zeitgeist

Original title: Men, Women & Children

Year 2014

Studio: Paramount Pictures

Genre: Action

Length: 119 minutes

Approval: from 12 years

Director / Screenplay: Jason Reitman

With: Ansel Elgort, Adam Sandler, Jennifer Garner, Judy Greer, Kaitlyn Dever

Available in Germany since: 30 April 2015

Trivia: The iPhone is the movie communication tool of choice.